Symposium – Eminent Domain: In the Aftermath of Kelo v. New London, a Resurrection in Norwood: One Public Interest Attorney's View
Patricia Hureston Lee
West Virginia University College of Law
Western New England Law Review, Vol. 29, Issue 1, pp. 121-140, 2006
Three months before residents of New London, Connecticut, went to court in Kelo v. City of New London, I recall reading a side note about a family distraught in a different town. The family-friendly restaurant named Orlissie's, located in Oak Park, Illinois, had succumbed to the threat of eminent domain. The unfortunate news of a restaurant closing was more common, partly because of the continued and disturbing increase in the number of eminent-domain acquisitions occurring across the country.
As a public-interest attorney employed by one of the leading defenders of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and homeowners, and as former corporate counsel to a multinational corporation, I knew that this would not be the last time a business or homeowner would lose his or her property because of eminent domain. At the same time, I believed that this was yet another horrific example of a business owner losing the battle over developing property to run a business, in the manner and in the location he or she chose.
Property owners, in dilemmas similar to that of the Oak Park business owner, are not typically in a position to successfully defend the taking of their private property. The cause is as much a function of the property owner's financial and political wherewithal to challenge even the threat of eminent domain, as it is the contemporary presumption that eminent domain is, overall, beneficial.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Property, Eminent Domain, Business & Corporate Law, Civil Rights LawAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 9, 2011 ; Last revised: April 24, 2012
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